Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don Sanchez retires after 40 years at ABC7

Don Sanchez said so long last night after 40 years at KGO ABC7. In a farewell story, he relates how one news director told him to shave off his trademark mustache and another news director three years later told him to grow it back. Below is the script of Cheryl Jennings' story about his career:
    This is a bittersweet day for all of us at ABC7 News as our beloved colleague Don Sanchez is retiring, packing away his microphone after 40 years on the job here. In those four decades, Don really has done it all -- news, sports, and for the last several years, entertainment.

    From the anchor desk to the red carpet, to wherever the assignment takes him, Don has spent four decades sharing the world with ABC7 News viewers.

    Don got his start at KSBY in San Luis Obispo as a fresh faced kid with a big voice. Even back then, Don interviewed celebrities, and like other small town reporters, he did commercials.

    After nine years, it was suddenly over.

    "One day they fired the entire news department, all five of us," Don said.

    Just a few days later, Don landed at KGO-TV.

    "They said, 'Well, we can maybe give you three weeks' worth of work,'" Don said.

    But once Don put on that mandatory Circle Seven sport coat he never looked back.

    Don loved the Bay Area and the Bay Area loved him. Actor Benjamin Bratt grew up watching Don.

    "You are legend, you are certainly legend in my family," Bratt told Don once during an interview.

    Don replied, "Want to play me in your next film?"

    To which Bratt said, "You know if I could grow that kind of mustache I certainly would."

    In the early 70s, Don's trademark mustache almost disappeared for good.

    "The news director said, 'We don't have mustaches here, you'll have to cut it off,'" Don said. "Three years later a new news director said, 'We want you to start doing sports, but you look too young, have you ever thought about growing a mustache?'"

    Don made a dashing sports anchor and he was willing to take risks. His meeting with a sumo wrestler was so captivating the station ran it slow motion and added music. Don got hurt pretty badly, but that didn't stop him from taking a white water raft trip -- another adventure in terror set to music.

    Later Don hosted a live morning show. And for seven years anchored with Cheryl Jennings. Don and Cheryl worked together during some of the Bay Area's biggest news events. Don's office is packed with mementos of those stories -- good and bad.

    When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in 1989, ABC7 News crews were first on the scene at the hardest hit locations. There was a make shift studio set up in the newsroom and ABC7 News got back on the air with critical information for viewers and non-stop reporting that earned a Peabody Award.

    "And that has always been my proudest moment here; not what I did, but what everybody who was working here did,' Don said. "It was extraordinary."

    Don eventually became ABC7 News' arts and entertainment reporter.

    He's done hundreds of celebrity interviews, been made up like young Frankenstein and even done a cameo on General Hospital.

    Through it all, Don has remained true to his risk taking roots.

    In Scotland he tried sword fighting and he was one of the very first to visit Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure.

    Don still races out to cover news stories when needed and every week he does a movie review with a bucket of popcorn to rate the show.

    Don, your friends and fans have loved you for 40 years, so we'll give you a really full bucket. And we'll see you on the aisle.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

3-month sentence for spying on reporters

Bryan Wagner, right, stands next to Mathew DePante
and Ronald DeLia in a San Jose courtroom in
October 2006. Photo by Paul Sakuma of AP.
The scandal over Hewlett-Packard’s scheme to spy on journalists ended Thursday when a former private investigator was sentenced to three months in jail to one count of aggravated identity theft.

Bryan Wagner is the only figure in the case to get any jail time in the scandal that began in 2005 when then-HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn launched a secret campaign to uncover boardroom leaks to the media, according to’s Robert McMillan. He wrote:
    Criminal charges against HP executives were eventually dropped, and the only other people to be convicted in the case, Wagner’s bosses, Joseph and Mathew DePante, were sentenced to three years probation in July.

    Speaking before his sentencing, an unemotional Wagner, his hair now salted with grey, said he was guilty of “moral ineptness,” and he apologized to his victims, including former CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto, the only victim to address the court on Thursday. “I made mistakes and I apologize for these,” he said. “I was raised differently from what this would show.”
Wagner obtained information about calls between journalists and HP sources though a method called “pretexting,” in which he assumed the identity of journalists to get their calling records from phone companies.

Wagner could have received two years in prison but it is believed he got leniency because he assisted the FBI. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen in San Jose.

After the sentencing, Kawamoto emailed Wired to say she was unsatisfied with the outcome. “I think they should have gone for the maximum.” She told the judge she was “very disappointed” that no one from HP had been convicted of any crime in the matter.

Chronicle trims printing contract

The Chronicle plans to cut back on its printing and has renegotiated its deal with the company that prints the newspaper.

In July 2009, the Chronicle shut down its presses and outsourced printing to Transcontinental, a Canadian company, which built a highly automated plant in Fremont under a 15-year, $1 billion contract.

Transcontinental will continue to publish the Chronicle, but will only do about two-thirds of the printing that the contract originally demanded, saving the Hearst-owned paper an estimated $30 million a year.

In exchange for the long-term savings – which Transcontinental said would come from using two printing presses instead of three to print the paper – Hearst will pay Transcontinental $200 million, according to a press release from Transcontinental.

The Chronicle’s average daily circulation has dropped from 251,782 in 2009 to 156,500 today.

Meanwhile, Transcontinental said that it will try to attract new customers now that it has additional press capacity due to the Chronicle’s retrenchment. Transcontinental’s plant at 47450 Kato Road in Fremont is only 9 miles from the Mercury News plant at I-880 and Brokaw Road.

Gilroy Dispatch drops Tuesday edition

The Gilroy Dispatch has dropped its Tuesday edition and is now charging $88 a year for an annual subscription to its online edition. Print subscribers will be able to access the website for no additional charge. Here’s a link to the Patch story about the changes and a letter to readers from Anthony Allegretti, the CEO of the Dispatch’s parent company, Mainstreet Media Group.

Bill Lane Center branches out into news

The Stanford News Service reports that the university’s Bill Lane Center for the American West is moving into the news business, by working with reporters on major projects or producing its own original reporting. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising since Bill Lane, who died in 2010, owned Sunset Magazine for many years with his brother Mel from 1952 to 1990 when the company was sold to Time Warner.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dana King leaving CBS5 on Friday

Dana King
After 15 years at KPIX and 25 in TV news, Dana King is leaving the anchor desk on Friday to pursue a career in art, though SF media blogger Rich Liberman says she was cut because she was making too much money — $800,000 a year.

Here's what King is saying, according to the CBS news release: “I am leaving the business to build my next life as an artist,” said King, who a few years ago began working toward earning a Master’s Degree in classical sculpture from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. “In order to do it right, I am making a commitment that requires a choice between continuing an already amazing career and starting a brand new one. KPIX has been my second home. I am honored to have worked beside everyone here and to have had the privilege of serving the people of the Bay Area by reporting the news during these last 15 years of enormous change. I will miss it all more than you know.”

Her last newscast will be at 11 p.m. Friday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First drink free at Press Club's Christmas Party TONIGHT

You and your friends are invited to join the Press Club for our annual Christmas Party tonight (Thursday, Dec. 6) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room at Chevy's Foster city, 979A Edgewater Blvd.

The first drink is free and there will be complimentary appetizers.

The Press Club will hold its annual meeting and election at 7 p.m.

Please bring some canned goods to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Rich Lieberman launches radio show

San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman is now a weekend talk show host on KOMY 1340 in Monterey, pulling the 8-11 p.m. shift. According to FishbowlLA, Lieberman’s opening guest were Frank Somerville, Dan Ashley, Ken Wayne and John Rothmann. This coming weekend his guests will be “Seinfeld” actor Patrick Warburton and Alan Colmes.

Pulitzer winner Jose Antonio Vargas speaks to Los Altos audience about immigration reform

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who discovered that as a teen he had been brought to the U.S. illegally, told a near-capacity crowd at Los Altos High School that there's a need for immigration reform.

Here's a link to the Mountain View Voice's report of the Nov. 18 talk in which Vargas said he is confident that President Obama will pass comprehensive immigration reform within a year.

Vargas was born in the Philippines but grew up in Mountain View and continued in journalism with stops at the Mountain View Voice, San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post.

Above, Vargas talks about the Oregon driver's license he obtained. Photo by Michelle Le of the Voice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 2012 Press Club board minutes

Nov. 14, 2012 — San Mateo Daily Journal offices

PRESENT: Darryl Compton, Melissa McRobbie, Antonia Ehlers, Dave Price, Marshall Wilson, Ed Remitz, Laura Dudnick.

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE: Darryl reported on finance and membership. The club is slightly in the red by $800.

BOOT CAMP DEBRIEF: This year, we had 120 high school students participate in Boot Camp. Board members agreed that there needs to be stronger year-round communication with high school advisors. The feedback on the various workshops was positive. Jim Wagstaffe, our keynote speaker, offered a remarkable presentation. Ideas for next year included condensing the schedule and shortening the day. Another idea was to offer a separate workshop for parents (on a different date) highlighting careers in journalism and explaining career paths, so local students have more parental support.

ANNUAL AWARD CALL FOR ENTRIES: The board discussed reducing the number of categories and reaching out to journalists in catetories that have lighter entries (magazines, web, documentaries). The contest is open to journalists in print, electronic media, magazine/trade press and public relations categories. Entries will be judged by qualified professionals outside the Bay Area. Complete online entry forms and uploaded content are due by Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.

PRESS CLUB HOLIDAY PARTY: Come and celebrate the holidays early, Cinco de Mayo style! The San Francisco/Peninsula Press Club holiday party will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 at Chevy’s Restaurant in Foster City. The event is sure to be a blast! All members of the media are invited and encouraged to bring other media professionals. The party will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room. Chevy’s is located at 979 A Edgewater Boulevard. Your first drink is free, as well as complimentary appetizers. After the party, the Press Club Board of Directors will attend the December meeting.

* Please bring some canned goods to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank.

BOARD OPENING AND OFFICERS FOR 2013: There is an open seat on the Press Club Board of Directors. Board members discussed potential candidates.

COLLEGE OF SAN MATEO JOURNALISM PROGRAM UPDATE: Dave Price, Marshall Wilson and Antonia Ehlers provided an update on the CSM journalism program. School officials have agreed to “suspend,” not eliminate the program. Board members brainstormed about ways in which to save the program and offer journalism classes to college students in San Mateo County.

OTHER BUSINESS: The board discussed recent attacks on news crews and expressed its support. Laura asked for items for the upcoming newsletter.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Antonia Ehlers, Secretary

Menlo Park discussion will focus on how local history will be written if newspapers go away

"History Endangered: When Newspapers Are Gone, How Will Local History Be Written" is the topic of a talk Palo Alto Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson will give on Sunday, Nov. 18, to the Menlo Park Historical Association. Everyone is invited to the free lecture, 2-4 p.m. at the Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St., Menlo Park. For information call (650) 208-4530 or go to

Judge in Justin Bieber case says California's new anti-paparazzi law is unconstitutional

Justin Bieber
A Los Angeles Superior court judge threw out charges related to California's new anti-paparazzi law Wednesday in the case of a freelance photographer who was charged in connection with a freeway chase with Justin Bieber, the LA Times reports.

Judge Thomas Rubinson ruled that while prosecutors could proceed with two traffic-related charges against photographer Paul Raef, the two counts related to the anti-paparazzi law did not pass Constitutional muster.

Passed in 2010, the law punishes paparazzi driving dangerously to obtain images they will sell. But Judge Rubinson said the law violated First Amendment protections by overreaching and potentially affecting such people as wedding photographers or photographers speeding to a location where a celebrity was present.

Attorney David S. Kestenbaum, one of the lawyers representing Raef, told the LA Times he was pleased by the judge's decision, which showed his client was simply doing his job.

"The judge said that when you are talking about people doing their job and yet running the risk of additional criminal punishment, it has a chilling effect from anyone from newsgathers to wedding photographers and even real estate agents," Kestenbaum said. "It just a lesson in constitutional law.

The ruling comes less than six months after Bieber was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley and cited for driving his Fisker sports car at high speed. The pop star said then he was being chased by a freelance paparazzo later identified as Raef.

Union wants security guards for crews in Oakland

The Chronicle reports that SAG-AFTRA leaders at Bay Area TV and radio stations are pressuring management to hire security to accompany news crews when they are in Oakland, where reporters and photographers have been robbed. Veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda has been robbed of cameras twice since July and last week a KPIX CBS5 crew was robbed of its camera during a live shot. During that incident, photographer Doug Welk was punched in the mouth. Meanwhile, station managers met with Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan on Tuesday to discuss the robberies.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

UC Berkeley students covering Richmond

UC Berkeley lecturer Eric Simons and Tiffany Neely go over topics to cover with senior lecturer Bob  Calo (center). Photo by Alejandra Bayardo of the Chronicle.

The Chronicle this morning has a story about a UC-Berkeley Journalism program that sends students out to cover the gritty city of Richmond for a semester. The students, 18 of them this year, will write stories for the website Richmond Confidential. They cover everything from crime to city government, from features to sports. A fan is Police Chief Richard Magnus, who told the Chronicle: "The challenge we face as a city government is that people's views of Richmond are still formed by the images portrayed in mainstream media, which only comes here to cover a notorious crime or scandal. I think the (Richmond) Confidential really gets out a lot of stories about the interesting things going on, but not just in feel-good stories. They are doing some very strong and tough journalism."

College district ponders future of KCSM-TV

The San Mateo County Community College District's board on Wednesday (Nov. 14) will discuss what will become of KCSM-TV, the noncommercial station the college has operated since 1964. The station is losing about $1 million a year and the college put it up for sale last year. But last month, the college board decided to throw out the six bids it received, saying they lacked the money they claimed or wouldn't meet FCC requirements for local control.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Robbers attack CBS5 photographer

KPIX CBS5 photographer Gregg Welk was punched and robbed during a live shot outside an Oakland high school, the latest in a spate of holdups targeting the media.

According to the Chronicle, Reporter Anne Makovec and Welk were on the air shortly after noon Wednesday outside Oakland Technical High School near the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway. They were at the school to do a story on the passage of Prop 30, the tax measure preventing deep cuts to education.

As Makovec was finishing her report, five men rushed up and grabbed a $6,000 camera from the tripod. Viewers saw the live picture being jarred and turned sideways for about two seconds.

One of the assailants punched Welk in the mouth before the group fled in a Mercedes-Benz, which apparently was accompanied by a Lexus, police said. Welk declined treatment by paramedics but saw his doctor.

"He is fine, and he is actually working today," KPIX spokeswoman Akilah Bolden-Monifa said Thursday.

Bolden-Monifa said the station would continue to report in Oakland but declined to specify whether any changes would be made to protect its crews.

Sources told the Chronicle, however, that all KPIX crews covering stories in Oakland would be accompanied by security guards, day or night, effective immediately.

The incident comes amid a series of robberies in which media representatives have been victims throughout Oakland, often in broad daylight.

Veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda has twice been robbed of cameras since July.

Late one night in June, a KTVU news crew was robbed of a computer, camera and tripod by several men who pushed their way into their van parked on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills.

In May, a man stole a camera and tripod from a KNTV crew at 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Local investors buy Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Ten months after Florida-based Halifax Media Group bought the Santa Rosa Press Democrat from the New York Times Co., it now plans to sell the paper to a group of local investors.

According to a report in the Press Democrat, the main buyers include Darius Anderson, a Sonoma developer and Sacramento lobbyist, and Doug Bosco, a former congressman who remains active in Democratic Party politics.

Anderson earlier this year led a different six-person partnership that bought the Sonoma Index-Tribune newspaper, which publishes twice a week. The sale of the Press Democrat will also include the weekly Petaluma Argus-Courier and the North Bay Business Journal.

Another investor is Steven Falk, former president and publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle and currently head of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

The fourth principal buyer is Bill Hooper, president of Anderson's development firm, Kenwood Investments, and a former executive with Clear Channel Outdoor, the billboard advertising company.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Falk, who is chief executive of the investor group known as Sonoma Media, said the deal could close as early as next week.

Halifax CEO Michael Redding didn't return a call to a Press Democrat reporter who wrote the report about the sale, but said in a statement that because “90 percent of our company is based in the Southeast, it makes geographic sense for Sonoma Media to own the business.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Journalist wins legal fees in fight with FBI

The Associated Press reported today that a federal judge has ordered the FBI to pay a Bay Area journalist's legal fees of $470,000 after a years-long legal battle for the release of agency documents. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled Wednesday that reporter Seth Rosenfeld was entitled to the fees because he had to file two lawsuits starting in 1990 for documents the FBI should have turned over when he filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI finally ultimately turned over the documents related to the FBI's covert operations connection to the 1960s protest movement at the University of California, Berkeley. Rosenfeld used the documents to publish numerous articles and a recent book, "Subversives." The award will be paid to the First Amendment Project of Oakland, a nonprofit law firm that represented Rosenfeld.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Press Club's High School Boot Camp Oct. 26

Attention, high school journalism advisers. Please save Friday afternoon, Oct. 26, for the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's High School Journalism Boot Camp at the College of San Mateo. It will take place from 12:50 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Topics include online media, transition to college journalism, photoshopping, sports reporting, interview techniques and story ideas students can pursue on their own campus.

Press Club members will also offer critiques of student publications.

Like last year, the Boot Camp take over the CSM Theatre and surrounding classrooms for presentations by professional journalists.

The Press Club is tying the Boot Camp to participation in the spring High School Journalism Contest. Every school that participates in the Boot Camp will be eligible to enter the contest; those schools that do not participate in the Boot Camp will not be eligible for the contest.

More information will be available later this week. We look forward to hearing that you will be sending students on Oct. 26.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dennis Rockstroh retires from Merc

Dennis Rockstroh, who has been writing for the Mercury News since 1973 and most recently was its Action Line consumer reporter, has retired. His last column appeared today.
    So there had to be a favorite column, right? There was.
    One day, my editor walked over and asked, "Whatever happened to the Carol Doda sign?" That famous or infamous sign of the legendary beauty hung larger than life in front of the Condor Club in San Francisco's North Beach. Most noteworthy were the two blinking red lights on her chest. So I headed for San Francisco's striptease neighborhood and carefully began my investigation.

    It turned out that the sign had been removed in two parts. A man from Sausalito bought the blinking top part. But Carol Doda's bottom was missing. I called her up and told her what I was doing. "I can't find your bottom," I informed her. And she replied without hesitation, "Well honey, I've been working out." 
    So I'm done here, 70 years old and time to fade away.

    Action Line will go on hiatus while the editors consider its future.

    For me, every day becomes a Saturday. 
    As Bob Hope used to say: Thanks for the memories.
The photo below was posted by the Merc today with Rockstroh's final column.

Dennis Rockstroh, far left, poses with Mercury News staff members who were working on Christmas Eve 1973. Also shown are: Jack Calhoun, assistant city editor (seated), and from left: Connie Skipitares, reporter; Eric Kammersgard, copy clerk; Bob Weaver, reporter, assistant city editor; Stan Moreillon, reporter; Judy Telfer, reporter; Ron Burda, photographer; Willys Peck, assistant city editor; Carolyn Foley, reporter; and Frank Sweeney, reporter/assistant city editor. (Photo by Dick Wisdom).

Cancelled journalism program wins awards

College of San Mateo’s Journalism program, cancelled this fall for low enrollment, collected an array of honors Saturday at a regional journalism conference in Sacramento.

Students in the program, which produced The San Matean, the campus newspaper and website, collected awards for their work over the last two semesters in enterprise reporting, video reporting, editorial writing, advertising and photography.

The awards were presented during the Northern California conference of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide group. About 20 colleges and 200 students attended the event at CSU-Sacramento. Students from JACC member colleges compete in dozens of journalism categories for the awards.

“The awards were an amazing outcome for the students, given the climate the students had while doing their work,” said Ed Remitz, the graduates’ former journalism professor and adviser (and a member of the Press Club's board of directors). Remitz, who attended the Sacramento event, retired from CSM after the program was terminated. “The students carried on to the end, never abandoning their strong work ethic and dedication to serving their community.”

The award for enterprise reporting is given for in-depth work of great value to the public. It is not ranked, but noted as a Meritorious, or general excellence, award. The staff of The San Matean were cited for their eight-page series last spring about garbage management in the college district. The San Matean has received numerous awards in this category in previous years, among the most prestigious in the contests.

Students Kayla Figard and Alex Pulisci also were awarded second place for Web/Broadcast Journalism for their video about garbage management that accompanied the series. Pulisci and another student, Erasmo Martinez, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Web/Broadcast Journalism category for their video report about a music event at the CSM Theatre.

Student Ryan Patron was awarded third place in the Photo Illustration category for his creation of a surfer riding a wave of plastic trash.

The staff of The San Matean received first place for another ad which parodied TV’s “World’s Most Interesting Man” campaign with a staffer extolling the virtues of The San Matean with such assertions as “If the First Amendment had a mascot, it would be The San Matean.”

Jeffrey Gonzalez, now a journalism major at San Jose State University, collected third place honors in Feature Photo for his shot of students in a hopping contest. Gonzalez also collected third place honors for Student Designed Advertisement for his humorous program promotion — “We Like Puppies — Do you? The San Matean — Do It for the puppies.”

The staff also received an Honorable Mention for Editorial Writing for an article about First Amendment rights on campus.

Student Shaun Carmody collected two Honorable Mentions in sports coverage, one for Sports Game Story, the other for his Sports Feature Photo.

CSM Journalism graduates Margaret Baum and Yasmine Mahmoud, both journalism majors at San Jose State University, and Kayla Figard, a journalism major at San Francisco State University, attended the event to conduct a workshop about First Amendment rights for students. Baum and Figard are recipients of $1,500 Herb Caen Scholarships from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

New publisher to charge for online news

Declaring “the news isn’t free,” the new publisher of the Gilroy Dispatch says in a story printed today that his paper will start charging online readers.

The new publisher is Tony Allegretti, 67, who is also CEO and co-founder of Mainstreet Media Group, owner of 14 newspapers in California. He will also serve as publisher of the Dispatch’s sister papers, the Morgan Hill Times and Hollister Free Lance.

After living in La Jolla for four years, Allegretti has returned to Gilroy to replace his business partner of 21 years, Steve Staloch, who resigned as chief operating officer and senior vice president. Allegretti and Staloch co-founded Mainstreet Media Group in 2004.

Allegretti said he is happy to be back in Gilroy and that newspapers are on the rebound. He said he agreed with Warren Buffett, who said newspapers have made a mistake by giving away their news online. In May, Buffett bought 63 newspapers for $142 million.

“Every major newspaper company in America is going to go to paid websites,” Allegretti explains. “And we will also.”

Here’s a link to the Dispatch story that explains the paywall to readers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SF Public Press gains nonprofit status

After more than two and a half years, the IRS has awarded 501(c)3 nonprofit status to the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial local news organization that publishes online at and quarterly in a newspaper. (Here's the announcement from the SF Public Press.) The ruling allows the Public Press to directly accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, and elevates the organization to the same legal status as NPR, the Associated Press and the Center for Investigative Reporting, among many others. It enables the startup news organization to solicit more grants from foundations.

Chron SF City Hall reporter Rachel Gordon to become spokeswoman for city agency

The SF Appeal reports that Chronicle City Hall reporter Rachel Gordon has been hired by San Francisco's Department of Public Works as its communications director.

The SF Appeal, an online news outlet headed by Eve Batey, points out that the job opening wasn't advertised, and the job was offered only to Gordon. City Hall HR rules require such jobs to be advertised.

But DPW special projects manager Mindy Linetzky told the Appeal that the job is a temporary position, and therefore exempt from those rules. However, the email DPW director Mohammed Nuru sent on Sept. 11 announcing the hiring of Gordon didn't state she was a temp, and in fact pointed out that she was replacing an "interim" communications director.

Nonetheless, Linetzky said that within six months, the communications director job will be advertised as part of a job search by DPW. So, it appears Gordon has traded her full-time gig at the Chron for a temp job, if the folks at DPW are to be believed.

Palo Alto Weekly co-founder buys Marin's Pacific Sun

The Pacific Sun, a weekly newspaper in Marin County, has been sold to a Menlo Park man with roots in the newspaper business.

Embarcadero Media — the parent company of the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Pleasanton Weekly and The Almanac in Menlo Park — has sold the Sun to Bob Heinen for an undisclosed price. Heinen, a co-founder of the Palo Alto Weekly in 1979, previously held a stake in Embarcadero Media, but he gave up his interest in the company to become sole owner of the Sun. That's according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal.

Founded in 1963 by Merrill and Joann Grohman, the Pacific Sun was sold in 1966 to Steve McNamara of Mill Valley, who owned the newspaper for nearly four decades. McNamara sold the paper in 2004 to Embarcadero Publishing (now Embarcadero Media).

The Pacific Sun and its 18 employees will remain in San Rafael except for Publisher Gina Allen, who will move to Embarcadero's office in Pleasanton. Heinen said he plans to move to Marin but has not chosen a city.

Former TV reporter runs hardware store

Jim Wieder, who worked for 30 years in TV news including the last 10 at KGO, now owns an ACE Hardware store in Hayward. Does he have any regrets about changing careers? He told the Chron's Peter Hartlaub, "That's hard for some broadcasters, when they're not in the business anymore ... Going to the grocery store, people say, 'What are you doing now?' A lot of people tend to think that because you're not doing what you were doing, it's the end of the line. Nothing could be further from the truth. You're just doing something else."

KFOG's Annalisa gets morning gig at KFOX

KFOX (98.5 and 102.1) has hired former KFOG personality Annalisa for the morning drive to replace Greg Kihn, who departed on Friday. KFOX is also adding a commercial-free, advertiser-sponsored music block weekdays from 9 to noon, and it is expanding its music library to include hits from the 80s and 90s. So along with the station's core artists of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and the Beatles, KFOX‘s playlist will now include artists from Pearl Jam to Nirvana to Bob Marley to Stevie Wonder. (Here's the press release from station owner Entercom.)

Beginning Sept. 24, KFOX’s lineup will include:
    • 5-9 a.m. – Annalisa 
    • 9-noon – commercial-free music block 
    • noon-3 p.m. – Laurie Roberts 
    • 3 to 7 p.m. – Big Rick Stuart 
    • 7-midnight – Webster
"Annalisa has been a radio icon in the Bay Area for over 16 years and she consistently had the highest rated show on KFOG," said KFOX Program Director Garner Goin in a press release. "Her enthusiasm, passion, and music knowledge will be a refreshing choice for morning drive in the Bay Area. We are equally excited about improving the listening experience for our audience, from our larger music library to a dedicated commercial-free music block every day."

Friday, September 14, 2012

KFOX drops morning man Greg Kihn

KFOX-FM 98.5 and 102.1 has decided not to renew the contract of longtime morning man Greg Kihn. His last show was this morning.

Kihn has been doing the morning drive at KFOX for 16 years after a music career that included the MTV video hits such as "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'em Like That)."

Management decided not to renew Kihn's contract, and the parting was amicable, said his manager, Joel Turtle.

When a station is looking to cut costs, those who are getting paid the most are vulnerable, Turtle said.

Kihn, 63, is a creative guy who, in addition to music and broadcasting, has written four novels and a book of short stories. He has a fifth novel in the works titled "Rubber Soul." He also has a screenplay in development for a cable series about how the mafia ran the New York City music industry in the 1960s. “I’ll be back on the air soon doing what I love to do most," Kihn said in a statement yesterday.

Palo Alto High School's Ellen Austin named national journalism teacher of the year

The Dow Jones News Fund has named Ellen Austin of Palo Alto High School as its 2012 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.

Austin advises the award-winning "Viking" sports magazine and website and co-advises "INfocus," the live daily news show.

She will accept her award and address her peers Nov. 17 at the National High School Journalism convention in San Antonio.  She will spend the coming year speaking to scholastic and professional media groups and writing a column for Adviser Update.

She is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in marketing and holds a master's in secondary English from the University of Minnesota. She chairs the Student Press Law Center's steering committee and served as a Journalism Education Association regional director from 2008 to 2011.

September 2012 Press Club board minutes

Sept. 12, 2012, San Mateo Daily Journal offices

PRESENT: Darryl Compton, Melissa McRobbie, Antonia Ehlers, Peter Cleaveland, Dave Price, Jon Mays, Marshall Wilson, Ed Remitz, Kristy Blackburn, Laura Dudnick.

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE: Darryl reported on finance and membership. The club is slightly in the red by $632.

AWARDS BANQUET DEBRIEF: The board was happy with the outcome of the awards dinner. The turnout was impressive, as were the variation of awards and categories. The one drawback to the current venue is loud music from the adjoining ballroom. We discussed the possibility of changing venues next year, possibly to the Elks Club, the Basque Cultural Center or Poplar Creek, depending on cost.

RECRUITMENT FOR OPENING ON BOARD: There is one seat open on the board. The board discussed potential candidates and recruiting a new member. Marshall will take the lead on recruitment.

COLLEGE OF SAN MATEO JOURNALISM PROGRAM UPDATE: Board members are disappointed about the cancellation of the CSM journalism program and The San Matean. Board members voted 7-0 to oppose the decision, with Ed Remitz abstaining and Jon Mays exempt.

Board members wish to issue the following statement:
    “Directors of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club board are disappointed about the cancellation of journalism classes at CSM. We have questions regarding the decision-making process that led to the elimination of the program, and are asking for a revival of the program at the school. Members of the board are deeply concerned about the future of journalism for Peninsula college students and hope to work with the CSM administration to find solutions.”
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM BOOT CAMP OCT. 26: The Boot Camp is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the College of San Mateo. The board agreed to ask attorney Jim Wagstaffe to be the keynote speaker again. Antonia suggested journalist Greg Vistica as a back up. Kristy will develop a panel of high school students. Board members discussed workshop topics and logistics.

ANNUAL PICNIC: The annual picnic will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, at Darryl Compton’s house. All local journalists are invited to attend. Darryl will take care of the barbecue, and guests are asked to bring a side dish or a dessert.

OTHER BUSINESS: Antonia spoke about a new book that is about to be released, “The Four Gifts: How One Priest Received a Second, Third, and Fourth Chance at Life,” by Father Joe Bradley. According to Antonia, it is a remarkable journey about the human spirit. Father Joe, who inspires so many as a priest at St. Gregory Parish and as the Chaplain of Serra, also is a recipient of a heart transplant.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Antonia Ehlers, Secretary

Thursday, September 6, 2012

MediaNews sister company files for bankruptcy

The Journal Register Co., a chain of East Coast newspapers managed by Digital First, which also runs MediaNews Group, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time in three years. The bankruptcy filing will allow a major investor in Journal Register and MediaNews, Alden Global Capital, to buy the troubled chain and eliminate its $160 million in debt. It will also allow Journal Register to cancel expensive leases and dump pension plans. Here’s the email to employees from Digital First’s John Paton, who heads Journal Register and Media News.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Amendment group to fight to unseal documents in Apple-Samsung case

The San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition on Tuesday entered into the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement lawsuit in order to advocate for public disclosure of confidential financial records that Apple and Samsung filed in court under seal. (Here's a link to the coalition's announcement.)

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose ruled Aug. 9 in favor of a request by Reuters to unseal most of the records in the case.

But when Apple and Samsung said they would appeal her decision, Reuters said it wouldn't fight the appeal, meaning the records would stay secret.

 Now the First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to free speech and open-government, filed a motion to intervene in the appeal on Tuesday.

Apple and Samsung, although disagreeing on just about everything else in this case in which Apple won a $1 billion jury verdict, are in full accord about wanting to maintain total secrecy for their respective financial records, according to the First Amendment Coalition.

SacBee to charge online readers

The Sacramento Bee announced this morning that it will begin charging readers to read its online coverage at, such as the blogs turned out by the Bee’s political writers. Digital access will start at 99 cents a month.

The Bee’s approach is different approach from that of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, which limit readers to 15 stories a month unless they have paid for a subscription.

“The Bee’s online coverage includes video, photo galleries and databases not available in print, as well as the opportunity for readers to weigh in on civic affairs through our online comments,” said a front page “To Our Readers” announcement in this morning’s Bee. “Our digital offerings include the e-edition replica of the printed newspaper, available on multiple devices, and various smartphone applications, as well as news alerts delivered directly to your email.”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

SF startup Talkwheel offers new tool to engage readers on Facebook

A San Francisco startup called Talkwheel helps journalists do a better job of engaging with readers on social media sites such as Facebook with a minimal time commitment. Nicole Martinelli of (International Journalists Network) took Talkwheel for a spin to see how it works. Here’s her review. She writes:
    The circular design allows you to see at a glance where most people are commenting and focus on that, rather than scrolling through chronological nested replies. In addition to the conversation wheel, the app has a left-hand panel with topics, which is handy if you want to see what's going on in a hurry.
Talkwheel’s vp of business development, Patrick Randolph, says the product’s design increases Facebook chatter by 40%.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Retired Merc columnist Leigh Weimers dies

The Mercury News is reporting on its website that Leigh Weimers, a columnist who had been at that newspaper for 47 years, died this morning at age 76. On an Aug. 28 entry on his blog, Weimers said he was going to have surgery Wednesday to repair or replace a valve in his heart. Funeral arrangements are pending. Weimers retired on his 70th birthday, Nov. 11, 2005. From the obit the Merc posted today:
    "He was a class act -- a smart journalist, a courtly gentleman and a real champion for arts and culture in the valley and for his alma mater," said Linda Zavoral, assistant features editor for the Mercury News and, like Weimers, a former Spartan Daily editor. "When he walked out of the Mercury News on his retirement day, he walked out to a standing ovation from the entire newsroom, and lots of tears." 
    Weimers began his career as a general assignment reporter in 1958, when San Jose's population was 148,200. He started writing a column for the paper in 1965. 
    Raised in Napa, Weimers graduated in 1957 from San Jose State University, where he edited the Spartan Daily. After his retirement from the paper, he continued to write for a local magazine and on his blog.
UPDATE, FRIDAY (8/31) 11 A.M.: Here's the obit Sal Pizarro of the Merc posted:
    He was known as "Mr. San Jose" in part because he knew everyone but mostly because of his sincere belief in the city's ability to become a great metropolitan area. He was a founding member of the Silicon Valley Capital Club and a member of the downtown San Jose Rotary Club for more than 30 years.
And here's a link to Leigh's final column on Nov. 13, 2005. He ended the column by talking about what he planned to do next:
    On a personal level, people ask what I'm going to do now that my 47-year Mercury career is ending. I tell them, two things for sure: In the morning I'm going to turn off the alarm. And when I do get up, I'll start practicing the piano. All and any future projects still are under consideration, but I've always wanted to spiff up my piano skills, and now I'll have time to do that. If I can become a halfway decent saloon pianist, I'll be very happy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Students oppose cuts to Berkeley High paper

The Daily Cal reports that dozens of Berkeley High School students and supporters of that school's student newspaper appeared before the school board on Wednesday (Aug. 22) to protest cuts in the student journalism program. Principal Pasquale Scuderi said the cuts are planned because enrollment in the journalism class, which supports the student-run Berkeley High Jacket newspaper, is down.

Harpers prints devastating profile of Singleton

Dean Singleton is no longer running the MediaNews Group chain of 56 newspapers, such as the San Jose Mercury News, but he’s still publisher of the Denver Post and the company's executive chairman. And, according to a profile in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, he’s using his position in Colorado to push his political views.

The Harpers story by Dave Sirota says the Denver Post has become so bastardized that it ran a profile of Singleton that called him “the Superman of the American newspaper industry.”

Here are the links:
    • If you want to pay $16.97 for a one-year subscription to Harpers to read the story, here’s the link.

    • In Humboldt, Calif., where Singleton ran a competitor out of business and then gutted the newsroom of the paper he controlled, a blog has posted this review of the Harpers article that uses an unkind term to describe Singleton. Apparently people don’t like him in that town.

    • Here’s an article Sirota wrote in the August edition of Harpers about Singleton, titled “The Citizen Kane Era Returns.” It gives a taste of the complaints Sirota has about Singleton.

    • The Denver Post’s longtime TV columnist, Joanne Ostrow, defended Singleton against Sirota’s criticisms. Ostrow points out that Sirota’s contract with the paper was terminated.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stan Burford to retire after long career

Traffic reporter Stan Burford is retiring Sept. 28 after 51 years in the Bay Area broadcasting business, including 32 years at KGO-AM.

"I've achieved everything over the years that I've set out to do and my various roles have been extremely rewarding. Now, I'll get to spend more time with my wife and family," he said.

In the 1960s, he was the traffic reporter on radio powerhouse KSFO, a station headed up by icons such as Don Sherwood and Jim Lange. But Burford lost his job after a joke he made on the air rubbed Sherwood the wrong way, according to his bio in the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Northern California newsletter.

He went on to bigger and better things including jobs at KPIX, Metromedia's KNEW Channel 32 and Kaiser's KBHK Channel 44. He would eventually head the production department at KGO-TV, where he oversaw 22 producers, 19 directors and a dozen production assistants. He also was an executive with a production company that made shows for the Disney Channel and PBS.

In 1988, he returned to KGO TV and began reporting traffic from the Sky7 helicopter, and he was on the air, and in the air, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit on Oct. 17, 1989.

"I was in a plane over Berkeley at the time," he told the NATAS Norcal newsletter. "I flew until 1 a.m. the next morning. I reportred what I saw below — the detours, the devastation — for days. Those were four days of my life I will never forget. ...

"It was important for me at the time to get information out over the air. ... The status of the Bay Bridge, the freeways ... where you could go, where you couldn't go," Burford said.

Burford has won 14 Emmy awards and 10 RTNDA awards, and is a member of the Bay Area Broadcast Legends. (Photo credit: KGO-AM)

College of San Mateo newspaper adviser retires after classes supporting paper are canceled

Ed Remitz, the faculty adviser behind the muckraking student newspaper at the College of San Mateo, announced his retirement Friday (Aug. 18), a few days after he learned that four of the five journalism classes he taught were canceled this fall.

The student newspaper, The San Matean, often went head-to-head with college administrators, questioning how money was spent and the secrecy behind those decisions.

Administrators said the courses supporting the paper were canceled due to a lack of enrollment this year, although there had been similar problems with low enrollment in previous years.

More broadly, Remeitz felt The San Matean taught its young journalists to question authority and ask tough questions of powerful decision-makers.

But Remitz said that school officials told him that The San Matean — which was entirely produced by students, with no editing by Remitz — contained too many typographical errors and didn't present a positive image of the tax-supported San Mateo County Community College District.

"Every effort should be made by a college to protect its journalism program and I don't think every effort was made here to save it," Remitz told the Daily Post.

Remitz had taught at CSM for 23 years. Previously he was a reporter at the Sacramento Union newspaper. He's also a member of the board of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Student starts petition to save newspaper

The San Mateo Daily Journal reports that a former editor of the College of San Mateo student newspaper has launched a petition drive to save that student publication. The college, part of the tax-funded San Mateo County Community College District, has decided to eliminate the classes that support The San Matean due to low enrollment.

“We are collecting signatures because we want to show how many people truly care about The San Matean,” former editor Kayla Figard said in an email to the Daily Journal. “We are also hoping to use it as a tool where people can comment and share what kind of impact the San Matean had on them. It may not get CSM to reinstate the classes but at least it will show how many people were impacted by the San Matean.”

Here's a link to the petition. 

The president of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, Marshall Wilson, has offered to speak with college officials as to why the classes were canceled and to offer assistance in reviving the journalism program or to continue journalism education at CSM and the publication of the San Matean as a club activity.

“The College of San Mateo has run an excellent journalism program for many years and it is extremely unfortunate that classes were canceled,” Wilson said. “Journalism teaches students to ask tough questions and to dig into important issues. Journalism also teaches students the craft of writing, an extremely important skill in this information age. All public institutions are facing difficult decisions due to budget constraints.”

(The San Matean's faculty adviser is Ed Remitz, who is a member of the Press Club's board.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

College axes journalism classes

The College of San Mateo has canceled all journalism classes that support the college newspaper for the fall semester, leaving the fate of the well-regarded student publication up in the air, the Palo Alto Daily Post reported today (Aug. 15). The following is from the Post's report:
    Students with the paper have clashed with the administration previously over the future of the classes and over what they say were its attempts to control some of the paper’s reporting.
    Journalism professor Ed Remitz said he was “disappointed and puzzled” at the college’s decision, which he learned about on Monday. ...
    College President Michael Claire told the Post last night that all four classes lacked sufficient enrollment. The college wanted each class to have around 20 students, and they weren’t remotely close, he said. 
    Remitz acknowledged that underenrollment has been a chronic problem. He said that in the 23 years he’s taught at the school, he’s never seen 20 students enroll in any one of those classes. ...
    But he said the program which produces The San Matean student newspaper has been extremely successful, earning a slew of awards — including one from the Society of Professional Journalists that papers from two-year schools almost never win. 
    "We have very high standards and are involved in very serious competitions,” he said. 
    He said The San Matean is produced on an unusually low budget for a community college newspaper — $4,600 compared to $16,000 for the typical community college paper.
    The college has produced The San Matean since 1928.
    Claire, the college president, said the canceling of the classes did not necessarily mean axing the paper. He said students could form a club and run The San Matean. He also said students will be offered the journalism classes at Skyline College as an alternative. 
    Claire said the college has lost 22% of its now $28 million budget over the past four years, making hard choices inevitable. Other classes have also been cut for low enrollment, he said. 
    “I kind of saw it coming,” said Kayla Figard, who was executive editor of the paper last year.
    She said the administration had issues with the way the paper reported some budget cuts at the school, which led to some tense meetings between the student editors and some administrators.
    Claire disagreed, characterizing one of those meetings as officials offering the students friendly advice. 
    "I think they saw that they had a good reason to cut the program now because (of the low enrollment),” Figard said. “It’s really disappointing.” 
    She said she’d been contacted by people who saw her articles and then wanted to take the journalism classes and write for the newspaper. 
    "People really wanted to take that class,” she said. “They wanted to get that experience they won’t get anywhere else.”
(The San Matean's faculty adviser is Ed Remitz, who is a member of the Press Club's board.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peninsula columnist Kreitman enters hospice

Keith Kreitman — a columnist who wrote about politics, theater and other subjects for the Daily Journal in San Mateo for the past six years — has entered a hospice at the VA in Palo Alto.

Journal Editor Jon Mays reports that while Kreitman is in good spirits, he can no longer write a column, though he “has found plenty of people with whom to share his viewpoints.”

Mays writes:
    Keith is also a heck of a nice guy, with a cutting humor in even the most dire of situations. At the VA, he remarked how he is often prodded and poked and how a pair of nurses asked him where he would like his head. “I’d like it to remain on my shoulders, if I could.” 
    While Keith will no longer be writing for the Daily Journal, he made an impact on the community and on the staff here at the newspaper. I thank him for his service.

Redwood City publisher Steve Penna raises $4,000 for Police Athletic League

Alex and Cherlene Write give Steve Penna, center, a cupcake.
Steve Penna, owner of Redwood City’s Spectrum Magazine, celebrated his 54th birthday by requesting that guests at his party donate to that city’s Police Activities League instead of giving him presents. That resulted in $4,000 donations to the PAL, according to Patch Redwood City. Patch says local politicians who turned out for Penna’s bash included Redwood City council members Ian Bain, Rosanne Foust, Jeff Gee and John Seybert, city staff members Bob Bell, Silvia Vonderlinden and Chris Beth, and state assemblymen Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon. (Photo credit: By James Kaspar, from Patch)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

KCBS veteran George Harris dies at 61

Longtime KCBS Radio reporter George Harris died on Monday night of kidney failure, according to this Facebook post by KCBS colleague Bob Butler. Harris was 61.

"He was unflappable on the air and was known as the best breaking news reporter in the Bay Area," Butler writes.

Harris began his broadcasting career in 1975 at stations in Portland and later Seattle. His KCBS bio says he started at that station in 1987 as an anchor and reporter. He became the station's San Jose bureau chief in 1996. He retired in March 2011.

Highlights of Harris’ career include coverage of the Mt. St. Helens explosion, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the East Bay Hills fire and the riots in South Central Los Angeles.

Harris also worked in TV, first at KING-TV in Seattle and was a part-time anchor for KRON.

Harris lived in Hayward.

(Harris' death was first reported by San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman.)

Roberta Gonzales moved to weekends

While Roberta Gonzales is being replaced as the weeknight weather anchor at KPIX CBS5, but she won't be leaving the station.

She said on her Facebook page on Friday that she has been in talks for the past five months to develop a new position in which she would report on the weather. A press release Tuesday from CBS5 said she will do weekend weather and have additional reporting responsibilities during the week.

"I want to thank all of you for your love and support during this time of change," Gonzales writes on FB. "And I need all of you to give me your ideas on weather stories."

As we reported on Friday, CBS5 has hired the No. 2 meteorologist at Seattle’s KOMO Paul Deanno to replace Gonzales as weeknight weather anchor. Gonzales has been at KPIX for 16 years and became the weeknight anchor in July 2007, replacing Samantha Mohr, who went on to the WeatherChannel.

A CBS5 press release on Tuesday said:
    Roberta Gonzales is taking on a new role anchoring weekend weathercasts, with additional weather reporting responsibilities in the field during the week. Gonzales has brought a unique blend of talent and enthusiasm to morning and evening news for many years at CBS 5 and CW Bay Area, and she has been extensively involved in the community. 
    “I am very excited both to welcome Paul and to have Roberta in a dynamic new role,” said Dan Rosenheim, Vice President and News Director. “With Paul, Roberta, and morning weather anchor Lawrence Karnow, we have three exceptionally talented weathercasters, and we will now be the only station in the Bay Area with three full time staff weather anchors.”

Chevron ads play during fire coverage

During last night's coverage of the Chevron refinery explosion and fire in Richmond, All News KCBS aired a spot for Chevron at 7:26 p.m. The commercial, part of the oil company's "We Agree" campaign, touted the benefits of fracking. At 10:13 p.m., during Channel 2's coverage of the explosion, they also aired a Chevron "We Agree" spot. Doesn't anybody check the commercial log anymore?

A glimpse into Frank Sommerville's off-camera life

This photo on Channel 2 anchor Frank Sommerville’s Facebook wall is generating a lot of interest. It shows him patiently taking out the braids in his daughter’s hair. The SFGate’s Mommy Files writes:
    The photo resonated with Sommerville’s fans because it captured one of those daily moments that parents often come to value most — and it showed a white father bonding with his black daughter. 
    Frank’s daughter Callie is adopted and he says, “If someone were to ask me what I am most proud of in my life it is that we adopted Callie. Every day I can see the difference we made in her life, and everyday I experience the difference she’s made in ours.” 
    The image received over 18,000 likes, 3,600 shares and 2,000 comments.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Number of stolen news racks rises to 100

A Daily Post rack found in the
back lot at the Merc. Post photo.
The number of stolen news racks in the South Bay is up to 100 and the Merc is changing its story about how the racks ended up on its property. Here's KTVU's report from tonight's "10'O Clock News."
(Usual disclosure: the editor of the Press Club's Facebook page is me, Dave Price, the editor, co-publisher and co-owner of the Daily Post. The Merc took some of the Post's racks.)

CBS5 replaces Roberta Gonzales

CBS5 has decided to replace Roberta Gonzales as its main weather anchor with the No. 2 meteorologist at Seattle’s KOMO, Paul Deanno.

The move was first reported by media blogger Rich Liberman and now by others, such as the CCTimes' Chuck Barney.

Barney quotes sources as saying Gonzales contract is up and CBS5 has offered her a lesser role as its weekend weathercaster. She has yet to accept that offer. Barney says that a source at the station says Gonzales "has never been a favorite" of CBS 5 news director Dan Rosenheim, despite her high profile in the community and prolific charity work.

Lieberman put it more bluntly:
    “This move seems to be, early on, a direct power play by [KPIX news director, Dan Rosenheim], who likes to pick and choose his players. He's good buddies with sports anchor, Dennis O'Donnell, and has pushed hard for fellow weather bud, Brian Hackney. In fact, it was widely rumored that Rosenheim wanted Hackney to do weeknight weather and push Gonzales over to the weekend. 
    This much is clear. Gonzales, in addition to being a popular personality with Bay Area viewers, is also an active charity participant. Frankly, this move by PIX befuddles me and is sure to draw the ire of many of its core viewers, most notably, women. And yes, of course, men too.
Money is likely an issue too, since several of the station’s anchors and reporters have been forced to take pay cuts as local TV revenues continue to decline. That’s a familiar story at every local TV station.

Metro says Merc's lying about taking news racks

Dan Pulcrano, owner of San Jose's Metro, has this posted a point by point response to the Mercury News' claims about the discovery of its competitors' newspaper racks in a Merc dumpster. Again, my usual disclosure. The editor of the Press Club's webpage is Dave Price, editor, publisher and co-owner of the Palo Alto Daily Post. The Merc took at least three Post racks.

Competitors' news racks found in back lot of San Jose Mercury News, police investigate

San Jose police have opened an investigation of the Mercury News after dozens of newspaper racks from competing publications were found in the Merc’s back lot.

The company Circulation Management, which distributes free publications, discovered the racks on Wednesday. Many had been thrown into a metal recycling bin.

CBS5's live shot from outside the Merc

Publishers of San Jose Metro and the Palo Alto Daily Post said they never gave the Merc permission to handle their newsracks, yet their racks were found on Merc property.

Merc VP David Rounds says his employees, when they confiscated the racks, were simply responding to complaints from cities about news rack problems, and that taking the racks to help the cities is a standard procedure.

But when the Daily Post contacted Mountain View, Menlo Park and Palo Alto’s code enforcement personnel, they said that if they have a problem with a news rack, they would contact the owner of the rack, not a competitor of the rack’s owner.

(Full disclosure: The editor of the Press Club’s website is Dave Price, who is co-publisher of the Daily Post.)

Here’s how various media outlets covered this story:

KTVU made it the top story on its Thursday, Aug. 2, “10 O’Clock News.”

San Jose, a news site owned by Metro, one of the paper’s whose racks were taken by the Merc.

News media blogger Jim Romenesko posted the first online report about this controversy and included text from the Daily Post, which isn’t available online.

CBS 5, whose headline is "Competitors Find Their Newsracks Behind Mercury News Offices"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Battle brewing over bill to allow in-person interviews of prison inmates

A bill by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, to allow journalists to interview prison inmates is running into opposition from state prison officials, the Chronicle reports.

Currently, journalists can arrange phone interviews of up to 15 minutes to prisoners who have access to phones. But the state Department of Corrections has barred pre-arranged, in-person interviews with prisoners since 1996. The Legislature has voted eight times to lift the ban, but the bills were vetoed by governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Department of Corrections says that setting up the interviews would be too costly and would “glamorize criminals.”

Ammiano told the Chronicle he wants to meet with the department’s administrators to overcome their objections.

His bill, AB1270, was approved by the Assembly on a 47-22 vote in January and is now before the State Appropriations Committee for a review of its costs.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Broadcasters hope to save KRE building

KRE Building
This year’s “Radio Day by the Bay” event, Saturday (July 21) at the art deco-style KRE Radio Building in Berkeley, is taking on special importance.

The California Historical Radio Society, which cleaned up the building and turned it into a home for the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, is trying to raise $750,000 to purchase the building before a court-imposed deadline.

The site’s owner, Inner City Broadcasting, is in bankruptcy proceedings, and the society has to buy it now or lose the property. For more information, go to

Meanwhile, Radio Day is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The MC will be KCBS’s Stan Bunger. A “Fibber McGee & Molly” broadcast will be recreated by the Broadcast Legends, and there will be a live band. KRE is located at Ashby Avenue and Shellmound Street, near the Interstate 80-Ashby exit.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sentencing today for HP contractors who obtained reporters' phone records

Joseph DePante, left,
and son Matthew
A federal judge in San Jose is scheduled today to sentence the father-son private detective team who, as contractors for Hewlett-Packard, assumed false identities to get the phone records of journalists covering the company,  the AP reports. Matthew DePante and his father, Joseph DePante, are expected to be sentenced to three years of probation and six months of electronic monitoring as part of a deal with prosecutors. AP reported:
    The DePantes' allegedly used the illegal practice of "pretexting" or pretending to be someone else to secretly secure copies of private telephone logs. The firm directed other investigators posing as account holders or phone company employees to illegally obtain personal information including phone numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates and call logs, authorities said.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chron caught up in fake byline controversy

The Chronicle has admitted that it has been publishing stories under fake bylines that were provided by a firm it had hired to produce stories for its real estate and SFiS sections.

The practice of using fake bylines was first revealed by Public Radio’s “This American Life.”

“The articles, which covered real estate transactions, were an amalgamation of work by researchers in the Philippines, editors in the United States and information culled from public records through automatic filters,” the Chronicle said in an unbylined story posted at SFGate.

The articles were produced by, which is owned by a firm is called Journatic. Journatic hires freelancers who live elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas to generate copy for its client newspapers at a lower cost than if the newspaper's staff were to produce the same content.

Clients include the Hearst Newspapers and the Tribune Co. In fact, Tribune is an investor in Journatic.

Journatic generates items such as police blotters, lists of real estate sales and reports on high school sports, for example.

“This American Life” reports that Journatic has 60 full-time employees and 200 freelancers including 100 people abroad.

The fake bylines were apparently used to disguise the fact that the stories were being written by people in places like the Philippines. When the freelancers interview their sources, they do so over the phone and have a number with a local area code.

The Chronicle says the use of fake bylines has been halted. However, it will continue using content from Journatic’s BlockShopper.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Oakland is a dangerous place to cover news

Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda was robbed of her laptop and camera Monday after she took pictures of a mural on San Pablo Avenue. On Thursday, a KTVU crew was robbed in the Oakland Hills. The Chronicle reports that this was the latest in a series of robberies of journalists in Oakland.
    KTVU reporter Debra Villalon was sitting in her news van Thursday night, waiting to go on the air with a story about a serious bike crash in the Oakland hills, when several men accosted her and cameraman Alan Leong. 
    "Shoot the bitch!" one yelled as the men pushed their way into the van on Redwood Road and stole Villalon's laptop computer and workbag, a camera and a tripod. Villalon called for help on her two-way radio as the men drove off, and station officials called Oakland police.
    Villalon and Leong were unharmed but shaken by the incident, one of several crimes in recent weeks in which members of the news media have been singled out in Oakland. 
    Cameras, laptop taken
    The latest holdup was Monday afternoon, when veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda was robbed of her laptop and cameras after she took pictures of a mural on San Pablo Avenue near 35th Street. As in the robbery of the KTVU van, police have made no arrests.
    Journalists are no strangers to crime in Oakland. Several vehicles belonging to TV and radio stations were vandalized during recent Occupy Oakland protests, and a KGO-TV cameraman was hit on the head while covering a homicide near the Occupy compound outside City Hall last year. 
    Last year, another KGO-TV cameraman and reporter were attacked and robbed of a camera in East Oakland. Thieves have also broken into news vans parked in Chinatown and near the Coliseum, making off with expensive equipment. 
    "Sometimes you need combat pay to go into Oakland," said Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma, president of the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association. "They're definitely watching their back more than they used to." 
    Daylight robberies 
    Oda was robbed during the daytime, as were NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez and cameraman Rich Goudeau. The two were working on a story May 14 at San Pablo Avenue near 20th Street when a man ran up, grabbed their camera and tripod, and sped off in a car. 
    "We've always felt generally safe covering the Oakland community, especially in the daylight hours," Hernandez said. "It was pretty rattling to fall victim to such a brazen attack." 
    The recent string of robberies, she said, "has us constantly on guard now, no matter what time of day or where in town we are." 
    Officer Johnna Watson, a police spokeswoman, said investigators were "seeing if this is a group of individuals who are targeting media, or if these are just random acts or crimes of opportunity."
    TV cameras are worth as much as $60,000 apiece, and tripods are about $7,000. There's speculation among reporters that the gear is being sold on the black market. 
    "These are very big, heavy, broadcast-quality cameras," said Janice Gin, KTVU associate news director. "The layperson might be able to figure out how to point and shoot. But they wouldn't know how to maximize the attributes of the camera."
    Heightened security 
    KTVU, which is based in Oakland, hasn't "made any changes as to how we cover the news, but clearly we are heightening our security measures," Gin said. That includes telling crews to give up their gear if confronted. 
    "If a guy wants your stuff, let them have it," she said. "We certainly believe that life is more important than property."